eileen_icon.gif melissa_icon.gif

Scene Title Discriminating
Synopsis Melissa attempts to get to the bottom of the Ruskin conundrum and sets a bridge on fire in the process.
Date September 15, 2010

Little Green House

A phone call led to a meeting, one which Melissa suggested happen at her place. It's safe enough, and she's had enough bad surprises lately that she likes having something familiar rather than a random meeting like the last one. She's dressed in black pants and a tee-shirt, but is barefoot when she opens the door to admit Eileen with a smile. "Hey Eileen. C'mon in. How you doing and all that?" she asks, stepping back to allow plenty of room for Eileen to do just that.

An owl breezes over Melissa's head first, and with two pumps of its long, broad wings swoops down to land on the fireplace mantle. Eileen steps into the foyer a moment later, a small figure in clothes more suited to autumn than summer now that temperatures are beginning to drop, including a pale brown dress worn over a darker wool cardigan with three-quarter length sleeves, polished black buttons and a scarf that holds back her hair and twists into a neat knot at her nape. Leather boots whisper against the house's hardwood floors, not nearly as stealthy as the owl's flight but soft enough that she and Melissa are the only ones in the house will hear her entrance.

Her voice is similarly soft. "I'm not here to socialize," she reminds the other woman gently. "You want to know about my brother, is that it?"

There's a single slow blink. "Well, right to the point. Though socializing isn't a bad thing, you know. And I didn't know he was your brother," Melissa says, frowning. "Though I guess there is a bit of resemblance. I just figured you guys were related somehow. Cousins or something. I mean, Ruskin and Ruskin and all. But yeah, I wanted to know about him. We're friends, and he's got…issues. Big issues."

Eileen brushes past Melissa and follows the owl's flight path, leaving her to close the front door behind her. The tips of her fingers glide over the back of the couch as she makes her way around it, no cane this evening to tap along the ground and identify obstacles before her feet can encounter them, but with the owl's great yellow eyes tracking her progress through the den — she doesn't need one. "Friends," she repeats.

Melissa shuts the door and turns to follow Eileen's path, and she nods once. "Yeah, friends. He came over and stayed with me for a bit after Kendall…It helped. I want to help him in return, but he doesn't exactly make it easy, so I was hoping to find out what was up with him so I could help."

"You can't." Although there's no shortage of furniture for her to choose from, Eileen opts to remain standing when she arrives at the fireplace, and folds one arm across her middle as the owl shifts its weight from foot to foot, gives a silent ruffle of its rumpled feathers are settles in as if making itself comfortable. If the woman won't make herself at home, then he — or she, it's difficult to tell with birds of prey — will.

A brow arches and Melissa cocks her head. "Why do you say that? Would this have something to do with why he said you'd approve of him bailing out a window to avoid discussing you or anything else?"

"People aren't like cars, Melissa," Eileen says, "and even if they were, you're not a mechanic. It's not as simple as identifying a problem and replacing the broken part."

"Maybe not, but I still want to help him," Melissa says, shrugging. "I can't do that unless I know what's wrong. He's talked about being dangerous to be around and everything, and won't get that, hey, my life is dangerous enough as it is. A little more can't exactly do much to me."

Eileen looks at the owl. The owl looks at Eileen. When her gaze shifts back to Melissa's, it's a courtesy rather than a gesture with any real purpose. Her gray-green eyes are glassy, unfocused. "You invited an Interpol agent into your home," she murmurs, "which you also opened to Carmichael's people. What exactly are you playing at?"

That has Melissa staring for a long moment. "He's a what? Are you fucking serious? A cop, in my house? One who knows…" She slaps her forehead and groans. "No wonder he said I shouldn't trust him. But that still doesn't explain other things," she mutters, shaking her head and sitting down hard on the couch. "I wasn't playing at anything, Eileen. I really just wanted to help Nick since he helped me. More than just taking his pain for a little bit."

"If you want to do something nice for someone," Eileen suggests, "allow them their secrets. Him comforting you doesn't give you the right to know where he comes from, or who he is. The things he's done. And if you expect continue playing mama wolf to your cubs, you're going to need to be a little more discriminating in your choice of house guests. How long have you even known him?"

"So that's why you think I asked to talk to you? To try and get all of his secrets?" Melissa asks, sounding offended. "And, to be fair, you were the one who told me that he was an Interpol agent. I didn't ask about that. But if you're not going to tell me anything about him, secret or not, and you don't want to socialize, why did you even come?"

The breath Eileen presses out through her nose produces a thin hiss. "I told you he was an Interpol agent because you're a member of Messiah," she clarifies, no longer making an effort to soften the edge of her voice or keep her disdain from creeping into it, "and your survival could depend on you knowing. I came because Nicholas thinks I'm dead.

"I'd like it to remain that way."

"You'd let your own brother think you were dead? Eileen, that's just…cruel," Melissa says, grimacing at the other woman. "And since when has the Ferry cared about my survival? Scott made it pretty clear when he came to talk to me that the Ferry considers me a useless quitter."

"Scott doesn't speak for the network. He's a member of the Ferry's organizational council, but so am I, and when the Institute started taking our people, I came to warn you so you and Kendall would be safe. Don't insult me by conveniently forgetting our last conversation." Anger thickens Eileen's speech and does strange things to her voice, which is suddenly very low and very quiet: the emptiness in the eye of a storm. "You'll never be a safehouse operator again. That doesn't mean your friends wouldn't welcome you back with open arms.

"Not that you have very good taste if my brother is one of them."

Melissa smiles faintly. "I am a safehouse operator, Eileen. I just don't operate a Ferry safehouse anymore. Which means I know I'm not being dangled out for the government." The smile fades and she shakes her head. "You're right about one thing though. You did give me information on the Institute. As for the rest…" She shrugs. "I have a lot to think about."

Eileen barks out a strangled little laugh, followed immediately by a sharp, hitching breath. "I hope you don't mean this, because this isn't a safehouse. Safehouses aren't for parties or bringing in random people off the street who you feel sorry for and want to help because they let you cry on their shoulder after your sloppiness got someone else killed."

Eyes narrow and Melissa rises off her couch, and it's her turn to sound angry. Coldly so. "I think this conversation has gone on long enough, Eileen. I'm not even sure why you came. Do you delight in mocking me? Have you gotten sadistic that you'll bring up Kendall and blame me for it in the same breath? Isn't it bad enough that one of your precious Ferrymen is going around telling people that I'm Messiah? Now you have to come in my home and tell me that the only family I've ever had was killed because of my sloppiness?" She shakes her head. "Get out."

Eileen raises her arm, and the owl on the mantle hops down with a soundless flicker of its giant wings, hooking clawed talons into the densely-knit material of her cardigan. She brings it into her chest, elbow bent, and strokes knuckles along the feathers of its throat in a slow, calming motion. The owl responds with a deep, sonorous whistle of what is probably meant to be reassurance — or at least the closest thing to reassurance that it can offer.

Melissa's demand that she get out is met with absolutely no argument. Brisk footsteps carry her back toward the foyer.

Melissa follows along after, glaring at Eileen's back but not saying a word. She even pulls the door open wide, a rather pointed suggestion that the other woman get out. Nope, she's not at all happy with the Ferrywoman, and not afraid to show it.

"Don't contact me again," probably doesn't need to be spoken aloud, but there it is. Eileen steps out. "Tell Nicholas I'm alive and he won't be."

"Tell me I killed Kendall, insult me, and now you're making threats? Yes, I can see how you could've worked with Kazimir," Melissa says coldly before she shuts the door. Quietly, but firmly.

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